A framed photo of my grandmother at fourteen years old hangs in my apartment, one that she commissioned a professional photographer to take upon her arrival in Chicago from Georgia, in 1942. I once asked my grandmother why she had placed so much importance on documenting this moment, to which she simply replied, “To show that I was here.” I thought about that conversation, and the role of Black women as unofficial archivists of Black experience, as I watched Time (2020), Garrett Bradley’s moving and revelatory film that depicts one family’s love, and the power of that love, in the face of the destructive effects of the prison-industrial complex.
We feel the rapid passage of the years most poignantly in these cuts, ever aware that we are witnessing events in the present that exist in the past, fleeting glimpses of moments already gone.
Time chronicles the experiences of Fox Richardson as she raises her family and fights for the release of her incarcerated husband, Rob, who was sentenced to sixty years in prison for a robbery that the couple committed. Spanning two decades and composed of a seamless montage of Bradley’s present-day black-and-white film and the home video footage that Fox recorded and saved for eighteen years, Time does not just present an account of the events that mark the passing of time while Robert is gone; it offers the viewer an immersive experience of time itself.